By Zach Armstrong
HOPEWELL, Va -- Using pesticide-free honey from bee hives located in Prince George and fruits from Jarred’s produce in Dinwiddie, Haley’s Honey Meadery brings the art of making Honey Wine to the tri-city area.
Tonya Haley is a second-generation beekeeper. Her father taught bee keeping at John Tyler Community College and also had one of largest beekeeping businesses in Virginia. As she grew older, she began to sell her own honey products around but noticed that farmers’ markets became saturated with other beekeepers.
She began interning at a meadery in Yorktown until the end of that summer when the mentor asked Haley if she would buy up his business to which she accepted. She then moved the business to Hopewell.
Haley’s Honey Meadery offers locally-sourced honey, creamed honey, raw honey and 18 different varieties of Mead.
Mead is an alcoholic beverage sometimes referred to as ‘Honey Wine’ because most of the beverage's fermentable sugar is derived from honey. It is created by fermentinghoney with water and is sometimes produced along with fruits, spices, grains or hops. The alcoholic volume can range anywhere from about 3.5% to over 18%.
Haley’s also puts a twist on how their Mead is produced by adding fruits and herbs so that it gives customers something they can’t get anywhere else.
The business also stays committed to being eco-system driven by understanding bees' crucial role in helping protect the fragile environment.
“We really take our time with our bees, a lot of people are not being conscious,” said Haley. “We make sure there's no pesticides because those chemicals get into the honey so we try not to put our bees anywhere near where farmers or homeowners could be spraying it around,”
The business also has a small cafe serving a variety of products including ham sliders, turkey sandwiches, pretzels, spinach artichoke dip and more. Haley’s has also added some dessert menu options including cheesecakes and cobblers.
Customers also have the option of signing up for the Mead Guild club, a limited and exclusive quarterly subscription membership program with special discounts and quarterly shipments of meads. Participants receive four shipments per year in January, April, July and October with four bottles per shipment or pick-up.
Haley’s is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and also appears in local farmers markets such as the ones in Petersburg and Williamsburg.
“It's a family-owned business and we are certainly passionate about what we do, we love beekeeping and creating delicious mead,” said Haley. “We try giving that southern hospitality for everyone that walks through our door.”